According to Zambia Demographic and Health Survey (ZDHS) - 2018, more than 36 per cent of Zambia’s population lacked access to basic drinking water services while more than 67 per cent lacked access to basic sanitation services in 2018. An estimated 10 per cent of the population practiced open defecation while 76 per cent of households did not have access to a handwashing facility with soap and water in 2018.
Lack of adequate WASH services may pose serious challenge for effective prevention and control of COVID-19. For effective COVID-19 response, it is, therefore, critical not only to sustain the existing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services but also scale-up these to reach the un-served and under-served vulnerable population, as well as meet the increased demand.
Against the above backdrop, the WASH response is meant to contribute to GRZ’s wider efforts aimed at reduction of exposure to and prevention of the human to human transmission of COVID-19 through strengthening infection prevention and control (IPC) and sustaining a scale-up of WASH services and promotion of appropriate hygiene behaviours.
The critical needs in the WASH sector include strengthening of WASH and IPC measures in the health care facilities and schools; improvement and continuity of water supply to vulnerable communities, especially in the rural and high-density urban areas; provision of critical supplies including soap and handwashing stations to vulnerable populations and hygiene promotion together with infection prevention and control messaging .
A total of 34 health care facilities and COVID-19 treatment centers benefitted from WASH and IPC improvement measures in Shiwang’andu, Mpika, Kanchibaya, Lavushi Manda, Solwezi, Mbala, Kasama, Monze, Livingstone and Kitwe districts.
A total of 1,002 health-care facility staff and community health workers were trained in IPC in Sinazongwe, Zimba, Monze, Mwandi, Shiwang’andu, Kanchibaya, Mpika, Livingstone, Kazungula, Lavushi Manda and other districts in Muchinga, Northern, Luapula, Central, Eastern, Southern, Copperbelt, Western and North Western Provinces.
Approximately 4,750 people were reached with safe water in Zimba and Sinazongwe districts.
Thirty-four schools benefited from hygiene supplies, including soap and hand sanitisers, in Lusaka and Livingstone districts.
An estimated 6,595 vulnerable people were provided soap and/or other critical WASH supplies in different districts in Muchinga, Northern, Luapula, Central, Eastern, Southern, Copperbelt, Western and North Western Provinces.
An estimated 4,670,000 people were reached with messages on safe hygiene practices in different districts in Lusaka, Muchinga, Northern, Luapula, Central, Eastern, Southern, Copperbelt, Western and North Western Provinces.
Planned activities to support for the improvement and continuity of WASH services have not yet started due to funding gaps.